Tag Archive | "dell"

Dell Venue 11 Pro (Baytrail) Tablet and Tablet Keyboard Review

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Dell Venue 11 Pro (1)

In our last review we looked at an 8-inch tablet running on the Atom Z3740 costing under $300. In this review we have the Dell Venue 11 Pro 10.8 inch tablet running the current high-end Z3770 CPU and costing $499. The powered keyboard is an additional accessory at $159. The two units are extremely well built but are they worth it? We take a look in our detailed Dell Venue 11 Pro  review.

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Off-the-grid entertainment with DVB-T on a Windows 8 Tablet.

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For cheap, off-the-grid entertainment, OTA digital TV is the only way to get live information onto a tablet. I took a DVB-T receiver from Terratec, installed the driver and the TV software along with a codec pack on a Dell Venue 8 Pro and it’s working very well. According to tests, one charge should run for the full length of a footballl game, including extra time and penalties. It’s perfect for the up-coming World Cup!

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I’m using the DVB-T standard Terratec Cinergy DT USB XS which is a USB-connected receiver and from the image above you can see it has two antennas. It’s connected via a USB adaptor so you’ll need to make sure you‘ve got one of those. (MicroUSB to USB female connector.) As I’m testing approximately 500 meters from the local DVB-T transmitter I can operate it with no antennas attached, indoors but most people are going to need some sort of antenna. The cheaper USB sticks only have one antenna and may not be good for the edges of reception areas so you’ll need to be aware of that but there are a few with integrated antennas which would be practical if you’re in a good reception area.

The receiver doesn’t auto-install on Windows 8 so I downloaded the latest drivers and the Terratec DVB Viewer software. Unfortunately there’s a third step due to lack of MPEG-2 support in Windows 8.

The problem and solution for MPEG-2 on Windows 8

Windows 8 doesn’t include the required MPEG-2 codecs like Windows 7 did so you’ll need to install a codec pack which is always a bit risky but I’ve found what appears to be an ‘honest’ and simple codec pack with easy installation and setup in the Shark007 basic codec pack. Install the standard 32-bit codec pack and remember to ‘skip’ the freeware offers. For configuration choose the Shark007 SUGGESTED settings. If you’re running a 64-bit system you’ll probably need the 64-bit extensions but I haven’t tested that.

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The Terratec viewer software is for desktop only and isn’t very finger friendly but scanning of the local frequencies here was straightforward and resulted in 34 channels being found. Unfortunately this receiver won’t pick up DAB (radio) or the new DVB-T2 standard but the quality is fine for this 8-inch tablet and casual usage.

Quality of the streams on DVB-T is ‘standard definition’ 528×576 25fps MPEG-2 at about 2.5Mbps with an MPEG2 audio channel. (DVB-T2 offers high-definition streams.)

Under normal viewing conditions on this Z3740D-based tablet the CPU is using 17%. In aircraft mode (no WiFi needed for this) and with full screen brightness I was seeing 5.6W of power usage which, on this 19Wh device is going to give you 3hrs 20 minutes of viewing time. Let’s say 3hrs to be safe.

The Terratec software I’m using here allows TV to be recorded to disk at a rate of about 20MB / min which means you’ll have no problem recording a few hours of something for later playback.

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The Dell Venue 8 Pro is a great tablet PC for this TV activity due to its bright, high-contrast IPS screen and loud speaker. It’s mono, but it’s still the best speaker you can get on a low-cost 8-inch Windows tablets.

DVB-T and DVB-T2 won’t work for everyone but if you’re in a good reception area it’s a good, simple, off-the-grid solution for entertainment.

Dell Venue Pro 11 with Baytrail beats 2.5 year-old Core i5 Tablet in CPU test.

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Dell Venue 11 Pro (Baytrail) (12)In 2008 we were measuring netbooks with a test called Crystalmark. It was a quick and simple test that allowed us to do compare across the devices we used it with. Two CPU tests, three GPU tests, a memory test and a disk test were all we needed to get a feel for the performance of a device.  In late 2011 we got hands-on with a Core i5 Windows 7 tablet from Samsung and were impressed with the scores. The cost and weight were high and the battery life was low. Today we’re seeing Atom-based platforms beating that Core i5 from 2.5 years ago.

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Dell Venue 8 Pro Review

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The Atom chip. Windows 8. For those seeking productivity and portability these technologies promised to fulfil that need but ultimately fell short. Intel’s Bay Trail CPU and Windows 8.1 are designed to finally meet those needs but do they really combine to produce the perfect storm for Windows tablets? The Dell Venue 8 Pro is the first of the new breed of Windows tablets out of the gate, does it have what it takes to satisfy the demanding needs of the professional on the go?

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WiFi-only Dell Streak 7 to Receive Honeycomb Update, 3G/4G Variant Being Left Behind with Android 2.2

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honeycomb streak 7According to our pal Jenn over at StreakSmart, the WiFi-only version of the Dell Streak 7 is set to receive an official update to Honeycomb next month.

Details haven’t emerged yet, such as which specific version of Honeycomb will be used and whether or not it will be customized or left stock. Jenn says the the update is expected to greatly increase the battery life of the device.

This is great news for Streak 7 owners, but it only applies to the WiFi-only version of the device. Apparently T-Mobile’s 3G/4G variant, which StreakSmart points out was recently discontinued, may never receive the update.

An alternative option to acquire Honeycomb is a custom ROM which is an unofficial software release that can be installed to your device if you’ve got the skills necessary. Jenn has a link to that ROM on her original post, go check it out.

Are you a WiFi-only Streak 7 user who’s excited for the Honeycomb Upgrade? Or perhaps a T-Mobiler who’s angry that your device wont be updated? Let us know in our Streak 7 forum.

Dell Roadmap Leak Shows a June Release for the Streak Pro 10 Inch Tablet

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A leaked Dell Tablet roadmap has revealed three new touchscreen devices may be released this year starting with an Android 10 inch tablet in June.

The leak mentions the Android based 10 inch Dell Streak Pro, a third generation convertible XT tablet (Windows based, and not so portable given that it will probably weigh is excess of 2 KG’s), and the Latitude ST which will run an Intel Oak Trail processor and Windows 7.

According to the leak the new Streak Pro will run a Tegra T25 dual-core A9 (1.2GHz) chip which is a newer version than the Tegra we know from Tablets like the Xoom. I currently use a Viewsonic G-Tab and Motorola Atrix 4G (both with the current Tegra 2) and I’ve been very happy with the performance of both, although the roadmap indicates an overly on top of Android called Dell Stage 1.5 which hopefully won’t detract from the performance of the device. There’s also mention of USB host support (allowing it to access external drives via USB) which is a great feature as having support for this makes life with an Android device much easier.

In my opinion the original Streak [product page] occupied a difficult place in between devices as it was too big to be a phone but too small to be a tablet.  At 10 inches the Streak Pro is obviously positioned to compete with the iPad 2 [product page] and that’s a very hard market to compete in. If Dell can get the hardware, software, and features right it will make life a whole lot easier when it goes up against the current king of the 10 inch tablets.

Dell Streak 7 Android Tablet on the Way, WiFi Certification and Commercial Concept Leaks as Evidence

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Way back in February at MWC Chippy spoke with a Dell representative who confirmed that the Dell Streak (aka Mini 5) was one of a family of upcoming devices. Since then we saw leaked renders in April of a 7” and 10” Streak device courtesy of Engadget.

strreak wifiJump to almost 9 months later and we find a Streak device passing through WiFi certification (this actually happened back in November, but didn’t get uncovered until recently.) The device could be one of several different sizes of Streak devices, but a commercial concept leak from Engadget lets us assume that the device is in fact the forthcoming Dell Streak 7. Let’s also not overlook the fact that Streak Smart called out case designer, Vaja, for listing a 7” Streak on their website.

From the Engadget leak and the WiFi certification, we know that the Dell Streak 7 will be a 7” Android device that functions as a phone as well. It’ll also have WiFi b/g/n and a Gorilla Glass screen. The commercial concept also mentions a “blazing graphics card for on the go gaming” which could indicate some Nvidia Tegra integration, but could also just be marketing speak for “Look, it plays games!”.

the original 5” Streak was already considered huge for a phone (and hasn’t quite taken off)… We’ll have to wait and see how people react to Dell expecting them to use a 7” device as a phone. Chances are, we’ll get a look at this device at CES 2011.

Dell Android on Intel or Not? Spot the Difference

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Related to the earlier news about Intel Atom Tablets, here’s a slide that went up at Cnet this morning.

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And here’s the one that went up at Engadget this morning…

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Spot the difference!

I’m guessing Intel made a mistake on the slide and updated it but the question is, does it mean anything?

Dell Inspiron Duo to Launch Soon for €549 (Europe)

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Update: Ben has already posted some U.S.-related news along with some interesting thoughts on the design. Check out his post here.

Information coming though from a couple of German blogs over the last hour indicate that the Duo is going to launch for 549 Euro with the N550 CPU, 2GB RAM and a Broadcom video accelerator.

Over at NDevil we get hands-on from a press conference. Comparison with the Samsung N350 shows that it’s much bigger and thicker. There’s a video too:

 

NewGadgetsDe also this one is in German have a video up.  Launch date is said to be within the next four weeks. Obviously this news is from Dells German marketing team.

Our tracking page is here and we’re looking to analyse this one soon. Initial feeling is that it might be too heavy for any consumer-style tablet work and that as a netbook, there are better options. Looks good though!

The Ever Interesting Dell Duo Could Launch Next Week, Will the Slate Mode be Useful?

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dell duo press photoAccording to Brooke Crothers from Cnet who cites “industry sources familiar with the launch plans”, the Dell Duo [tracking page] could launch on November 23rd.

I’m torn between loving and hating the Dell Duo.

For one, I think they have a very interesting take on the convertible form-factor. It’s novel and will definitely get the attention it’s looking for from consumers. I can see people looking at it next to a typical (boring) netbook and opting for the Duo because of its neat design (given that they are similarly priced). The issue is that when the screen is flipped to put the device into Slate mode, the user loses access to the trackpad and keyboard.

dell duo slate modeOn the other hand, I’ve long exclaimed my hatred for touchscreen “shells” that sit on top of Windows. We’ve been using and testing UMPCs for years and this is definitely nothing new. After lots of testing, what have we found? The best UMPCs were those that don’t compromise on controls and then try to make up for it with a poorly designed touchscreen shell. The best ones have usable keyboards and mice intact, and allow users to interact with Windows the way that it was designed to be interacted with – using a keyboard and mouse.

Trying to drop a shell on top of Windows 7 and then claiming it a “touchscreen computer” doesn’t make it useful. Users need to do more than play a slideshow, play a track from their music library, or use some proprietary touchscreen app. They need to be able to control the applications that they use on a daily basis, in an efficient way.

All of this begs the question: will people actually use the touchscreen mode on the Dell Duo? Or will it quickly fade from a neat idea to a rarely used feature?

I have a convertible HP Tablet. I love it and use it as my full time computer. The only time that I utilize the touchscreen is when it’s in Slate mode and when I’m using it for digital ink input. I’ve actually disabled the finger touch input because it interferes with the handwriting, and it rarely, if ever, offers any benefit over a mouse and keyboard (remember, we’re talking Windows here).

The issue with the Dell Duo is that it lacks digital ink input (or I should say good digital ink input) because it uses a capacitive touchscreen which is incapable of tracking a pen unless it’s contacting the screen.. For me, this would make the Duo relatively useless in convertible its slate mode.

dell duo clamshellBut different people use computers in different ways. Will users find useful ways to use the Duo in it’s keyboardless and mouseless slate mode? Let’s hear from the readers, how would you use it?

Dell Inspiron Duo – Close-Up Demo Video

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The Duo is looking very very close to production so official specs should be out soon. 1024×600 capacative screen, docking station, N550 Atom CPU and other specs should be confirmed soon. Here’s another video (see a demo of the swivel mechanism) I got of the Duo this afternoon at the Intel AppUp Elements event in San Francisco.

Dell Inspiron Duo – Conversion Demo

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I’m in a session at AppUp Elements with Dell and this is what they just showed us.  Nice trick!

Dell Inspiron Duo details now in the database.



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